The abbreviation for Corpus Juris Secundum, which is a comprehensive encyclopedia of the principles of American law.
Corpus Juris Secundum (CJS) serves as an important research tool that enables a user to locate statements and reported decisions on points of law in which he or she is interested. It is a multivolume set that alphabetically arranges broad topics of law, such as contracts, product liability and secured transactions. Preceding the text of each topic or title is a detailed sectional analysis that demonstrates a logical development of the principles of the title. The analysis permits a researcher to obtain a skeletal overview of the title and provides easy access to the desired area. Within each section, a more detailed analysis of subsections is provided when necessary to elucidate the finer points of a particular principle. A concise summary of the law discussed within the section is set out in heavy black print and is referred to as black letter law. This feature, which introduces the text of a section, allows a researcher to determine quickly whether the text explains the rule of law that is desired. Immediately following the statements of black letter law are the library references, which refer the researcher to the relevant key number of the West Digest System, thereby providing access to all of the related cases.
The main body of text discusses the general principles of the title. It is supported by footnotes that contain citations to relevant decisions that are reported in the various digests and reporters. A brief statement of the case is sometimes included in the footnote.
Each volume of CJS contains an index to the titles found within it. The entire set has a general index that facilitates location of the desired point of law. Each of the volumes is kept current through the use of annual pocket parts that include all relevant new cases and changes in statutes that affect the title. Volumes undergo complete revision periodically when substantial changes and developments in the law warrant the reorganization of the title.
CJS is one of two major legal encyclopedias with a national focus. The other is American Jurisprudence, which began publication in 1936 and is now in its second series. Although the two were competitors of sorts for a number of years, both are now published by the same company, the West Group. CJS and American Jurisprudence 2d are both available in electronic format on westlaw, the online legal-research database.